Podcasts are both affordable and convenient.
There’s nothing like immersing yourself in a new culture and learning the native language of a new land. My biggest goal during my six months in Spain was to master Spanish, since my prior fluency was only limited to words. Having had to speak it on a daily basis during my time there, I was able to quickly improve my skills and maneuver through everyday situations. I found that the real challenge to my progress was returning to the States, where everyday practice was a challenge. Desperate to keep my newfound proficiency intact, I searched for ways to keep my Spanish practice up, and discovered one of the most effective and useful learning tools ever: podcasts.
Without the big price tag of Rosetta Stone and the hours needed to dedicate to a traditional language class, podcasts are both affordable and convenient. Easy to access and at your own pace, podcasts lessons are perfect for listening to during a ride to work and in your spare time. I listen to a thirty minute “episode” every day, and it’s suprising how much one can pick up by doing so. Constantly listening to a language also helps learners familiarize themselves with subtleties in accents and pronunciations.
To browse your own language learning possibilities, check the Podcast section in the iTunes store and search under the category of Education. There will be hundreds of options, so stick to programs with four stars or higher; you’ll definitely want to download a few different programs to decide which is the most appealing and comfortable for you. My favorite podcast is ShowTime Spanish, a part of Coffee Break Spanish Series by Radio Lingua Network. Each “episode” covers a new everyday topic, and the hosts are both entertaining and thorough in their teaching. Radio Lingua also offers programs for Italian, French, and German learners. Always wanted to master a language? Now you can, and it’s all in the palm of your own hand.